25th September 2020
Nigeria has passed an amendment to a law that orders convicted rapists to be surgically castrated if a man, or have their fallopian tubes removed if a woman.
According to the legislation signed by the governor of the Kaduna state, if the victim is under 14, the rapist will have his testicles surgically removed before being executed.
Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said that drastic sanctions would be needed to help further protect children from serious crime.
The amendment to the law, which previously carried a penalty of 21 years' imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a child, comes after an outcry by the public, who said that the government should do more about a dramatic increase in reported rapes during Nigeria's COVID-19 lockdown.
The nation's state governors declared a state of emergency surrounding the subject as women's groups made increasingly loud calls for tougher actions against rapists.
The rape problem in Nigeria is disturbing at the very least. In December 2019, the Minister for Women's Affairs testified that two million women and girls were raped in the country each year.
Senator Pauline Tallen later reported that the number of rapes had spiked to three times the typical rate because women and girls were locked down with their abusers during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
While many women and child's right groups have welcomed the severe punishment, others argued that it would make it more difficult for authorities to record cases since the victims would likely be intimidated to silence by offenders.
The signing of the amendment has been a point of debate all over Nigeria, but the state of Kaduna is not the only place where castration ins the punishment for sexual offenses.
According to The New York Times, the Czech Republic offers voluntary surgical castration to violent sex offenders.
Indonesia and several American states also have legal provisions for chemical castration, which uses a drug to reduce testosterone levels and is not permanent.
Pakistan's president also suggested that rapists and child molesters be castrated instead of his initial suggestion that they should be hanged after worries surfaced of the country's trading relationship with the European Union being endangered by such action.